With 11 days remaining in March, overdose deaths in Vancouver are likely to increase over February totals. To date, the Vancouver Police Department has reported 21 suspected overdose deaths in Vancouver whereas in February, there were 25 recorded by VPD. Toxicology reports are not yet complete on cases that occurred in March, and final overdose death numbers need to be confirmed by the BC Coroners Service. It should be noted that VPD do not record all overdose deaths, such as those occurring in hospitals.
I am deeply saddened to hear of Margaret Mitchell’s passing, she's been a great inspiration to me and so many Vancouverites. A tireless advocate for marginalized communities, Margaret’s tenacity in fighting for women’s equality under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and being the first Member of Parliament to support a redress for the Chinese Canadian head tax leaves a legacy that touches us all today. I was honoured to recognize Margaret with Vancouver City Council’s highest award - the Freedom of the City - in a private ceremony last year.
Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services reported 174 overdose calls for the week of February 26 to March 5 — the highest number recorded in the city to date this year. Last week’s number of overdose calls was also extremely high compared to historical data. The majority of the calls were in the Downtown Eastside (see maps below), however the number of cases outside the downtown area also increased last week.
Vancouver is known throughout the world for our remarkable diversity and commitment to acceptance. This proud history of community building is at the heart of what makes Vancouver such an inclusive and compassionate city.
Last night’s bomb threat perpetrated against the Jewish Community Centre is a reminder that we must always stand in solidarity against anti-Semitism and all forms of racism. An act like this affects us all and we must be resilient in creating a more inclusive, compassionate, and understanding city for all of us.